Mayor took bad tone against ADE

I would like to express my appreciation to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and its editorial board for doing what the free press SHOULD do — working hard to bring answers to light on behalf of the community, to paraphrase from your most recent editorial regarding the Lake Flower Resort and Spa.

I am also appreciative that the editorial board identified the error made in their haste (not through malfeasance but rather in an attempt to gain information for the community) and publicly owned their responsibility for their error. BRAVO!

A free press is an institution guaranteed to us in the Constitution. I, for one, see one of the jobs of a free press as being responsible for expressing a generalized “view” of the broader community it represents — seeking information to help inform the public at large about issues facing the community as a whole, or just expressing issues existing before the community. In this time of the constant debasement and vilification of the free press by the present administration, it is critical that we support those in the press — to encourage dialogue, to disseminate information and to expose information for critical consideration by the public. The ADE has demonstrated its commitment to such consistently, and this is further demonstrated by the two editorials related to the Lake Flower Resort.

As a fellow citizen and general supporter of Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau, I must admit to being perplexed by the tone and overwhelmingly negative and critical nature of the mayor’s Guest Commentary in the ADE. I have always found Mayor Rabideau to be one of the first and foremost “pro-Saranac Lake” people around. He is, in my opinion, generally one to seek a conciliatory, “Let’s work together and get this done for the greater good” kind of approach. This is something I find admirable and, as a citizen, I am appreciative of, in terms of making things better for Saranac Lake as a community. While yes, Mayor Rabideau, the ADE may be owned by a group outside our immediate community, most of the folks who work there actually are members of our community. They hear the opinions of fellow community members as we all do — as we interact with one another in this community on a day-to-day basis. I was troubled by the accusatory nature of the mayor’s comments and the identification of the ADE as being against the proposed Lake Flower Resort, which, the editors have indicated, is NOT the position of the ADE at this time.

The point I believe Mayor Rabideau may have missed was one that speaks to my more broad discussion point here: A newspaper that publishes in its community and has its staff living in said community may on occasion miss the mark, as happened here. The editorial board was quick to admit the error of their hasty jump and apologize for their error made in haste. The nature of Mayor Rabideau’s Guest Commentary was, I felt, inflammatory, unkind and harshly toned, and not demonstrating general respect for the free press and its crucial role in our democracy.

Mayor Rabideau is certainly within his rights, as a citizen, to exercise his free speech rights as he chooses, and I would be wrong to admonish him against such. It is essential, I believe, in a time when the present administration in Washington constantly attacks and vilifies the deeply important and essential free press, that public officials should work to ensure this critical part of our democracy remains such — FREE.

In this time of contentiousness we as a nation presently find ourselves confronted with, it is my hope that Mayor Rabideau and all members of our small community will work together, along with the ADE editorial board, and support efforts to keep the Lake Flower Resort project as transparent as possible — for the greater good of all. We are all only as good as we are together, and a free press is a cornerstone and critical piece of that process in a democracy. I would offer, respectfully, the words of Thomas Jefferson for consideration: “When speech condemns a free press, you are hearing the words of a tyrant.”

Suzanne M. Miller lives in Saranac Lake.